Fancy a long weekend in the Hunter Valley with your furry friend in tow? Here’s our guide to pet-friendly places to eat, play and stay in the wine region.
Where to drink
Pets are not only welcomed but actively encouraged to join you at many Hunter Valley vineyards. They’ll even get to exchange a wag with the winery dogs that live at many of our favourites. Just remember to keep your dog on a leash, clean up after them and keep them in the designated areas.
Boutique Gundog Estate is pet-friendly, which is only fitting with a name like that. Order yourself a glass of something delicious and a Tail Ale Dog-Friendly Beer for your mate. Made from a special powdered beef marrow broth, it will aid digestion, promote strong bones and give them a shiny coat. The team at will even serve your dog a refined platter of tasty dog treats to enjoy while you work your way through the wines. They can then refresh themselves at the dedicated hydration station before stretching out beside the firepit for a well-deserved nap.
Stomp! Wines is the perfect perch for an alfresco picnic with pooch. Enjoy a gourmet hamper and a bottle of excellent chardonnay, then throw a ball around on the lawn. Dogs are welcome everywhere inside Pepper Tree Wines, from the sprawling grounds to the cellar door and even the private tasting room. Capercaillie Wines also has an all-access policy for dogs and well-behaved pups are free to have an off-leash romp by the dam. The large lawn, picnic tables and laid-back vibe at Saddler’s Creek Wines makes it a popular spot for tastings with both dogs and kids.
Hanging Tree Wines is set on 40 acres and has three resident winery dogs – Vodka, Muscat and Bundy. After a tasting, take a walk around the duck pond, play a game of giant chess and admire the French-style rose garden. Five winery dogs call Glandore Estate home and they’re always happy to see other pups. You can try the award-winning tempranillo while they test out a tennis ball. Blueberry Hill has a pack that includes a kelpie, a border collie and a greyhound, so they’re always happy to meet other pups on the lawn.
If your dog prefers a beer, many of the breweries in the Hunter Valley are open to four-pawed guests as well. Stop in for a pint and a pat at IronBark Hill Brewhouse, The Mighty Hunter Valley or 4 Pines at The Farm. Grape to Glass boutique wine tours welcome dogs to join their owners, with the experience taking you to vineyards that love pets as much as you do. Dog seatbelt restraints and handmade treats are provided. Vino Paw Tours will put together a whole dog-friendly weekend for you, including a winery tour, accommodation and meals.
Where to eat
Pampered pooches are a common sight at many restaurants and cafes across the Hunter Valley, though it’s a good idea to book ahead so you can guarantee a spot in the outside area. You won’t even need to forgo fine dining with a dog in tow. Hatted restaurants Margan, Muse Kitchen and Bistro Molines all have outdoor terraces where pets are welcome, as do Yellow Billy, Restaurant Kawul and éRemo. Lillino’s is a traditional Italian trattoria with a large grassy area and a resident pooch to greet you.
For something more casual, Fawk Foods is great for coffee and bakery goodies, The Deck Cafe has lovely seating over the water, Brokenback Bar serves pizzas and snacks all day, and there are always dogs in the sprawling courtyard of Cafe Enzo. Expect your pooch to be seriously spoilt at Lovedale Smokehouse Cafe and Deli, from the dedicated doggy menu featuring doughnuts, biscuits and cupcakes to the friendly staff who are always keen for a cuddle. Dine at the outdoor tables or picnic area.
Where to play
Both two- and four-legged family members can get in a little exercise during your stay. Near Cessnock, Hall Park offers plenty of green space for off-leash zoomies while Manning Park has an enclosed off-leash area if your dog is an escape artist. Kitchener Dam also sees many pet owners pounding the path, although dogs are required to be on a leash here.
Where to stay
If your dog enjoys a little luxury, check in to the famed Spicers Guesthouse where pampered pups are welcome in the King Deluxe rooms and the stylish four-bedroom The Cottage. The special Pooch Package includes a cosy dog bed and bowl.
The boutique Tonic Hotel in Lovedale is inspired by the design of a rustic outback shed, making for a chic rural retreat for both human and dog. Estate Tuscany is a little slice of Italy in the Hunter. Looking out over 300 acres of vineyards and the Brokenback Range, it has five pet-friendly rooms. Travellers on a budget can check out and Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley, which offer some pet-friendly cabins and powered sites.
Stay within strolling distance of the semillon at voco™ Kirkton Park Hunter Valley has a handful of pet-friendly rooms with private courtyards, and dogs are free to explore the beautiful grounds and gardens with you (on lead, of course)., a stylish split-level home that sleeps up to seven. There’s a sunny courtyard for summer and a wood fire for winter, plus a secure dog enclosure.
Large groups will love Ironstone Estate, which has three standalone houses each sleeping up to 12 guests (plus pets) with private pools or spas, firepits, barbecue areas, rolling lawns and vineyard views. Puddleduck House is a five-bedroom house with a fantastic swimming pool, set on five acres of farmland. You’ll feel like lord of the manor at Greenacres at Pokolbin, a grand eight-bedroom, five-bathroom property set on 30 acres with immaculate lawns, tennis court, swimming pool and games barn.